INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano told reporters he expected to return next season, saying he had “no reason” to think otherwise.
During a news conference Monday afternoon, Pagano talked about the season’s disappointments. He spoke about the offense, defense and special teams before finally addressing the issue everyone was thinking about: would he return as Colts coach?
“That’s the plan (to return),” Pagano said. “I don’t have any reason to believe why I wouldn’t be (returning).”
Pagano conceded that he hadn’t met with owner Jim Irsay to discuss his future with the team, adding that he and Irsay would meet later Monday.
The Colts ended their season on a high note with a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but speculation about Pagano’s future has been the primary focus so far. The day after the season ends is called “Black Monday” because many NFL teams change coaches or front office personnel.
Pagano said the day after the season ends–especially a disappointing one–is difficult because players clean out their lockers and face uncertainty regarding their futures. He believes the Colts have a talented roster and thinks the team will make a return to the playoffs next season. Pagano said he always has an optimistic outlook.
He admitted he wasn’t aggressive enough at some points in the season, pointing to the Detroit game in which the Colts blew the lead with 37 seconds left. Another stinging loss, according to Pagano, was the Colts’ first loss against the Texans in which the team blew a late lead and fell in overtime.
Why does Pagano think the team can turn the corner next season after two disappointing 8-8 campaigns?
“Faith. Belief. We got a quarterback who I think is the best quarterback in the league,” Pagano said. He felt the offensive line was getting better and the young defense was also shwoing improvement.
Pagano and GM Ryan Grigson are under contract for the next three seasons, but many are wondering if their time in Indy will be cut short. This is the second season in a row where the Colts have missed the playoffs, which hasn’t happened since the 1997-1998 season.